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Duckett to reporters: "I'm eating my cookie."
Published Friday, November 19, 2010 6:50PM MST
The top doctor at Alberta Health Services emerged from a day-long retreat aimed at fixing the health system by refusing to talk to reporters.
Reporters from CTV and other Edmonton media attempted to ask Dr. Stephen Duckett about the plan to meet emergency room targets and other health issues, but Duckett displayed a cookie instead as he walked to his vehicle.
"I'm still eating my cookie," Duckett said, outside the downtown Matirx hotel Friday afternoon.
After asking again for an interview, Duckett repeated: "Did you hear what I said? I'm eating my cookie."
Duckett walked away from media following a day-long meeting addressing hospital over-capacity issues with 93 invited health care leaders.
The goal of Friday's meeting was to introduce a new set of protocols for improving ER wait times.
"It brings together clinicians and operational leaders from across the province to work to develop over-capacity protocols, which are relevant to their own site, and which are relevant to improving care and access to emergency departments across the province," Duckett told CTV News before the meeting got underway.
According to reports afterward, the group of health care professionals came up with some guidelines for freeing up valuable space in emergency rooms by moving patients who don't need to be in emergency beds to other wards and hospitals that have room.
"There are multiple triggers based across the whole system, trying to get patients into the right place," said Dr. Chris Eagle, executive VP of Quality and Service Improvement with Alberta Health Services.
The thinktank meeting came after Tory MLA and parliamentary assistant for health Dr. Raj Sherman aired his concern and frustration about the health care system in a group e-mail.
Earlier in the week a leaked internal Alberta Health Services' document, obtained by the Wildrose Alliance Party, described a "sorry, we are full" approach to hospital admissions.
Eagle said the new set of protocols is just the start. CTV News was told the protocols still have to be refined but should be in place by late December.
Alberta Health Services will then meet with doctors in the New Year to re-assess the situation.
With files from Bill Fortier
To watch the entire encounter between reporters and Dr. Duckett, click here.